When They Saw the “Star”, They Rejoiced with Exceeding Great Joy!

I just recently read the above line (Matt. 2:10) in my study of the New Testament, and I thought it would make a nicely appropriate title for this post. My name is David Larsen and I am very happy to be participating with The Millennial Star as a new contributor.  Most of you probably don’t know me — I am a PhD student at the University of St Andrews in Scotland and am the author of a solo blog called Heavenly Ascents.  I’ve been blogging for 2+ years now, but never managed to be greatly active on the Bloggernacle (not out of lack of interest — I blame my busy school schedule).  However, I have recently been in closer contact with some of the founding members/bloggers here at Millennial Star and (although I have long been familiar with the blog and frequently enjoyed reading it) have recently been increasingly impressed with their dedication, sincerity, and faith.  When the opportunity arose for me to contribute to the “Star”, I “rejoiced with exceeding great joy.” 🙂

A few more words of introduction — after my mission to Brazil, I came back and got a degree in Near Eastern Studies from BYU. A trip to Israel when I was 15 greatly influenced me, and I have been strongly interested in pursuing religious studies ever since. After my BA degree from BYU, I decided that because I had already started a family (and was dirt poor), I needed to find a job and earn some money before continuing my studies. I ended up working for the Federal Government for about five years before I finally decided it was time for me to go back to school and pursue my dream of a career involving religious studies. After a semester at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I finished my MA in Theology at Marquette University in 2009. As mentioned, I am now working on a PhD in Divinity (Biblical Studies emphasis) at the University of St Andrews in Scotland.  We’ve (my wife, four children, and I) been here at St Andrews for over a year now, and we are thoroughly enjoying the experience and immensely grateful for the opportunity.

My principal academic interests include studying both biblical and “extra-biblical” religious writings of Judaism and Christianity, including “intertestamental” writings like the Dead Sea Scrolls. I am very interested in apocalyptic/mystical texts, especially those that describe heavenly visions, including those in which visionaries are allowed to ascend to heaven (hence the title of my solo blog). I am also interested in literature which gives insights into the ancient temple, its theology and rituals.  My dissertation research is focused on ritual themes that can be found in the Psalms, and how these themes were perpetuated in some of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Well, if I haven’t bored you to death already, I hope that I can share with you some of the insights that I am gaining and know that I’ll learn much more through discussing these things with you.  My posts will most likely be on scriptural and doctrinal topics, which I hope will be of interest to some of you. I would be happy to consider writing on specific topics of your interest, if there are any suggestions. Again, I am very pleased to be able to contribute to this excellent blog and hope to share with you some of the reasons of the hope that is in me (1 Pet. 3:15).

13 thoughts on “When They Saw the “Star”, They Rejoiced with Exceeding Great Joy!

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention » When They Saw the “Star”, They Rejoiced with Exceeding Great Joy! The Millennial Star -- Topsy.com

  2. David,

    Welcome to M*. I’m very very excited to have you here.

    I have (or at least used to have) some interested in early Christianity 1st and 2nd Century. Have you studied this and, if so, make this a request. 🙂

    I’m also interested in the Book of Enoch. I know there are like 3 of them, but I only have one and I can’t tell you wish one it is. That one included ascension to heaven in it, so I’m sure you’re familiar.

  3. Que bom, Brian!! Voce serviu em que missao? I was in Rio de Janeiro North (which apparently no longer exists).

    Bruce, I’m excited to be here! I haven’t done as much early Christian stuff as I would like to, but I do have some material that would be fun to share.

    I also enjoy the books of Enoch very much. My advisor at Marquette was an expert on Enoch, especially Second Enoch. That is the first detailed description of Enoch’s ascent to heaven, where he is graphically transformed into an angelic being. Third Enoch has him in heaven as well, but already established there as the head angel, going by the name of Metatron. Awesome stuff!

    Again, thanks guys for letting me be on board here at M*!!

  4. This is great, David. Congrats to M* for snagging you!

    Any recommendations on literature about the temple? It’s a topic I love.

  5. Thanks, JA! You know, I haven’t studied the Kabbalah much — although it is very interesting, its from a very late period compared to my main areas of interest. However, I have heard that Leonora Leet’s book, The Secret Doctrine of the Kabbalah, is very good.

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